Spain outshine Italy for Euro glory
Jul 01 2012
Spain recorded the biggest European Championship final win of all time to as they claimed a 4-0 Euro 2012 victory over Italy and became the first team to win three successive tournaments.
Leading through first-half goals from David Silva and Jordi Alba in Kiev, Spain's victory was sealed when final substitute Thiago Motta was stretchered off, leaving the Azzurri to play the final half hour with 10 men. And just to rub it in, Chelsea duo Fernando Torres and Juan Mata scored in the final minutes to complete a sensational victory.
It was all too much for Mario Balotelli, who marched straight down the tunnel at the end and angrily shrugged away efforts from Italian officials to get him to stay, before returning for the presentation ceremony.
Sergio Ramos had a couple of early efforts, so too Xavi. Andres Iniesta also had a shot blocked before Spain cut their opponents' defence to shreds. The move was astounding in its simplicity.
Alvaro Arbeloa started it, Xavi was also involved before Iniesta split the Italy defence with a pass Cesc Fabregas was able to cut-back from the by-line. And who should be there to head home? None other than little Silva, who had got free at the near post and flicked the ball into the far.
By half-time, Spain had another Again five passes were involved. This time it went back to front. Iker Casillas, Fabregas and then Alba, who fed Xavi and kept motoring.
Xavi has played that straight through ball thousands of times in his illustrious career. The pace on it was perfect. Alba, beyond Italy's back-line, steadied himself before sliding a shot calmly past Gianluigi Buffon.
Unfortunately for Italy, the last replacement, Motta was only on the field for four minutes before he pulled a hamstring and had to be stretchered off. Torres replaced Fabregas 16 minutes from the end, with Spain on top and starting to elaborate slightly too much.
The Chelsea man fired wide from a good position too, although he was ruled to be offside anyway. He was not going to be denied though and when Xavi nipped in to collect possession deep inside the Italy half, he fed another fine pass to the much-maligned forward, who finished with ease.
Mata replaced Iniesta as the clock ticked down and he was soon on the scoresheet too, profiting from Torres' unselfishness.
Copyright PA Sport 2012, All Rights Reserved
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